It seems like an entire lifetime has passed between March 13th, 2020 (my last day of in-person vet school), and now. The world is not the same, and neither am I. I begin my third year of vet school in a few weeks, and I am both apprehensive and excited. An equal duality of emotions.
I am going back to a socially distant, online/in-person hybrid format of classes. I am expected to wear a mask at all times and not linger before or after class. This is something that has never been done for vet schools, and I’m nervous. Anyone familiar with the culture of veterinary schools knows that a class is in it together. You can only get through these four years by leaning on your classmates, your support system. We were together for late nights and early mornings. We survived the lows of first exams and the highs of finishing semesters together. Now our class is divided into groups, and only half of us can go to class on certain days, while the other half goes the other days. While not in class, we are expected to participate online.
While I understand (and absolutely agree with) the necessity to implement social distancing guidelines for our vet school, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a bit sad. Sad because many of my closest support system friends are in another group. Sad because my class as a whole has been a united front since Day One and now we are apart. Sad because so much has changed in our world to make this the only way we can still have in-person school. Sad for everyone else’s lives who have been negatively impacted from COVID-19 (whether sickness, job loss, or other negative effects). Sad that our world may never be the same as before COVID-19.
But, I’m also really excited. As much as I love summer, I am ready to be back in the classroom. I am ready to learn. I ready to build the skills and the learn the knowledge that I will need to be a good vet. I’m ready for the exciting courses and labs that I get to have this semester. I am excited to see the classmates that are in my group, and the professors and faculty who have worked tirelessly since March to prepare for this semester with hundreds of variables and possible scenarios impacting their teaching plans. I’m ready to regain some semblance of normalcy again, even if that means social distancing and wearing a mask.
This semester is going to be a social experiment, both for us students and for our faculty. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am ready for school. I am so thankful for our faculty working to make this happen and to make the best of an impossible situation. Vets (and vet students) are resilient creatures. We will come through this stronger than before.